Thursday, March 08, 2007
Will wearing a Red Nose in Westminster be illegal?
Tim Ireland certainly think so. This is the first Red Nose Day since the introduction of the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 which made demonstrations in designated areas illegal without prioir police permission. I'm no lawyer but despite the speculation, I'm not holding my breath waiting for a spate of arrests next week.
Nonetheless it does highlight the crazy knee-jerk reactive laws that we get from this Government. Cast your mind back to the build up to this law getting through Parliament. Brian Haw has been a permanent fixture in Parliament Square demonstrating against the invasion of Iraq for the past five and a half years. This law was railroaded to clear him and his banners from opposite Parliament thus sparing Tony Blair's blushes on the rare occasion that he visited the House.
Unfortunately for the government, since the demonstration predated the implementation of the law, the courts ruled that it could not be applied retrospectively. Basically, this meant that the only person in the entire United Kingdom that this law did not apply to was...yes, you've guessed, Brian Haw.